By: Andrea Munoz
Tuesday morning I awoke to the sound of the busy Kyoto traffic. Everyone was spending their second day in Kyoto at the Ibis hotel, right across from the Kyoto Station. Kyoto and Tokyo are located pretty close, but both cities are very different. Tokyo tends to be more polite (everyone says “excuse me” and bows a lot)… Tokyo is referred to as the ‘NY of Japan’. Breakfast at the hotel was buffet style in the hotel but it featured Japanese styled foods (tofu, miso soup, eggplant….). Lon-sensei joined me for breakfast and we discussed Japanese and Mexican foods.
Around 9:15 am, everyone met up and we set off for the first stop in our day: Kobe. While on the train, I sat with Ye Sol and I found 10 yen- the signs of a good day to come! In Kobe, we went to the Kobe Immigration Museum. In 1928, Japanese citizens immigrated to Brazil in search of a better life. They worked in coffee fields while studying the Portuguese language and its culture. In 1971, the building was closed and later became an earthquake emergency center. Today, the local government protects the building. Cool fact: There are more Japanese-Brazilians than Japanese-Americans! The museum contained photos and personal articles belonging to the immigrants.
After the museum we traveled to Kobe’s Chinatown to eat lunch. The main street was Kobe Motomachi and it was filled with vendors selling intoxicating Chinese delicacies. After drinking several bobas, I was tempted to change my research topic to focus on the “bobalization on Japan”. To everyone’s relief, I stuck with my initial research idea: American comic books’ influence in Japan. I didn’t think I would find any comic book related things in Chinatown. To my surprise, Spiderman was a big influence in Chinatown. Several Kobe beef restaurants had a larger than life Spiderman decorating the exterior. I asked one of the restaurant’s workers why they had Spiderman. The simply replied; “Spiderman is cool.”
We took the JR to Osaka to visit the Osaka Castle. The castle is on a cliff surrounded by walls and motes. Sadly, the elevator was super slow and only went up to the 5th floor, so instead I ran up to the Castle’s top floor. The view was amazing. Osaka Castle is surrounded by nature but still has sky scrapers visible in the distance. For dinner we went to a Italian restaurant. We all ate so much. It didn’t really have any Japanese features but it was good. #SquidInkPastaForTheWin
After our 3 appetizers, 4 pastas and 7 pizzas, we got ready to do the must anticipated KARAOKE!!!!!!!!!! It was a special time for Chris, Luis, Steve and me. When we first met (weeks ago) we went to a karaoke place and sang. Toady we relived that moment by singing the same song (“All Star” by Smash Mouth). It was so fun!!!!! The songs ranged from Alicia Keys to Mumford and Sons to Journey. Everyone sang! Even our TA; Toku, sang about 4 songs. It was awesome.